Social media on a mobile platform is the pinnacle of excellence of new media. Discuss with examples the validity of this statement and how these technologies have changed the nature of design.
The rise of social media is a very recent phenomenon in the mass media industry. People are found to be more actively engaged in using social media applications and websites. Such a phenomenon is made more obvious through the proliferation of mobile platform to the mass public due to innovations and advancement of the many advance mobile devices. It is argued by some researchers that today, social media on a mobile platform is indeed the pinnacle of excellence of new media. Such a view is getting more accepted by the many practitioners as well as marketers. In this article, such a view will be investigated. This article is arranged as follow. Firstly, the trends of social media going mobile will be discussed. We shall see how people lifestyle or culture has been changing. Then, in the second part, the many changes of Social Media or Mobile related technologies will be discussed. The important changes, either in the context of concepts, ideas, technologies or applications will be outlined and discussed. Next, how the advancement of these technologies or applications have been influencing the nature of new media design as well as the design of future software applications will be articulated. The article concludes by stressing the view that social media on a mobile platform is the pinnacle of excellent of new media is valid.
There are two forces shaping the changes on new media design. Firstly, it is about the digital convergence. Today, many of the functions that are only available to certain electronic products are converging into a single device, namely the mobile smart phone (Best, 2009). The digital functions and applications, such as the power of desktop computer, the internet connectivity, the ability to listen to music and watching video from a mobile devices, the ability to make phone call, receiving SMS services, playing games and many other are all things that can be done through only a single devices. Among these, the biggest impacts are made by the fact that internet is enabled in cellular technology. The second trend is the rise of social media. People today are getting more involved in social media applications, to keep connected, in touch with their friends and family members, to share photos, files and ideas through fantastically designed applications such as Facebook (Sharma, 2011), Twitter and many others. When both the trends combined, the people usages of the social media applications become more frequent. In fact, people lifestyle, or arguably, the people culture has been changing. People today are getting more involved in the virtual world, as they can be seen to play with their smart phones, dominantly iPhone (Mickalowski et. al., 2009), in the bus, in a train, while waiting for people in a restaurant, in the classroom, while on a vacation and many others (Lieberman et. al., 2009). As long as they have a smart phone, and wireless internet connectivity is available, people today stay connected to others, and they can have access to social media anytime, at almost anywhere.
Traditionally, the many social media applications are only available for those who have a desktop computer as well as internet connectivity. The users of social media applications were still limited. Then, the mobile desktop, namely laptop is becoming more common and popular. People can then access to the social media via a laptop as well as wireless internet connectivity. It is then not hard to see people taking a laptop around, surfing on social media websites in the restaurant or in any places for them to do so. However, laptops are still largely big in size, and can be heavy to the female to carry around. Besides, a sufficient place for putting the laptop is often required for people to use it. Not only is that, it is also unreasonable to expect people to keep carrying the laptop around, and thus, the time people surfing or engaged in social media applications or websites are still limited. All these have been changing since the emergence of smart phones. As smart phone is smaller in size, easy to carry around, and people tend to have the habit to carry their phone with them no matter where they go, the advancement of mobile phone technologies, that enable people to access to internet with a reasonably high speed, spark the trends of wide applications and usages of social media applications and website by the mass public. Today, people can be seen online or ‘available’ on social media site for all day long. Essentially, they stay connected to the internet 24 hours day! (Cawley et. al., 2010) Not only more people get in touch with the social media applications, but also the involvement on these media of people is becoming more intense (Jackson, 2010). People habits or lifestyle are changing, they started to spend more and more time on social media. It is not too much to conclude that social media has already becoming an important characteristics or culture of people today.
From another perspective, traditionally, the applications on a phone are very limited. The mobile phone started as a device to allow people to talk to each others from different location. Then SMS comes into picture. People can then send text messages to each others. This had enable people to stay connected and communicate in a different way. However, as the competition in the mobile phone segment is becoming more intense, more applications are developed to lure the consumers of mobile phones. The mobile phones are seen to become more powerful, smaller, more nicely design, colorful screen design, ability to capture picture or photos, having more applications (such as games, video, music applications and many others) as well as lastly, to have high speed internet connection. All of a sudden, smart phones can become a good substitute to other electronic devices, such as desktop, laptops, walkman, and camera. Then, the applications for mobile phone exploded, as it effectively has become a mass media device. In the following paragraphs, the several new changes or development of the concepts or applications related to mobile social media will be discussed. It is simply too important to understand all of these concepts or applications related to social media on a mobile platform, before we can judge the impacts of these concepts or applications to the nature of new media design, to the businesses as well as to the society.
As the mobile devices such as smart phones enable instant internet connectivity, it delivers many real-time applications or experiences for the users. Such a situation enables the many users to participate in a particular event, and then to share their ideas or to communicate with others instantly (Underwood et. al., 2010). Information from a place can be transmitted to another end of the world via many different methods, which include in the form of writing (i.e., words), audio or even video. People are now more able to share the experiences in real time. All these real-time technologies had effectively changed how people interact with each others. One good application on this matter is Twitter. To explain, Twitter had become essentially a good way to upload the very recent or just happened news on what a person is doing or thinking, to be shared with others.
The advancement of Web 2.0, that is the websites or web contents that are largely shaped by the internet users, have been creating many powerful platform for people to discuss or communicate about particular events (Mitra, 2008). This can be very powerful in the business landscape, as people trusted their peers more, rather than relying on hard selling from paid representatives of a firm. Effectively, the many contents of Web 2.0 enable the creation of trusted network – that are powerfully influence the decision making process of the consumers (Brown et. al., 2007; Kozinets et. al., 2010). For example, the reviews by consumers, or the discussion of users in forum can be powerful to motivate others to try out the recommended services or products provided by a firm (Jacucci et. al., 2007). This is becoming more powerful as the recommendations are available from the many social media based websites. Consumers can easily use their smart phones to access to the review of a products or services, before they may any purchasing decisions in a particular place. Today, it is not surprising for strangers to know where is the best restaurants in a particular town that are widely recommended by people in the town with just a smart phone on his hand. It will also be not surprising that people may refuse to buy from a shop after checking the reviews of the shop with their smart phones in front of that particular shop.
Before the rise of social media network and the emergence of smart phones, businesses are already using SMS services to launch mobile marketing campaigns (Phau et. al., 2009). The marketers send SMS to potential consumers and then to convey the marketing communications messages via text messages. As the smart phones become more popular, marketers now can use the advantages provided by smart phones to send more interactive, colorful, impressive and attractive marketing communication messages to the many potential consumers (Du et. al., 2010). For example, marketers can send MMS or emails to the potential consumers that have nice video, photos, article, audio files or even games to attract and lure the customers to intended marketing objectives set by the firms (Phau et. al., 2009). All these are becoming more and more powerful and preferred by the mobile marketers as more and more users now have a smart phones and tend to read advertisement in the SMS format rather than in email SPAM format.
Besides, as businesses can now keep stronger, more interactive and close contact with the customers (Tye, 2010), the many businesses can create more creative marketing programs for the customers. Today, many businesses have the respective Customer Relationship Management Program to keep close relationships with the consumers. This can further be enhanced via the mobile platform. Businesses are creating newsletter, sales copy, or even nicely designed e-magazines or e-books to be delivered for free to the public.
Generally speaking, the term of location-based services are referred to the advertising or SMS messages to be sent to the mobile phone subscribers based on their location in the GPS (Crawford et. al., 2009). Thus, the messages are to be sent to the phone users depending on their location in a particular geographic situation. This can be highly useful for the many businesses that try to target the customers on a certain location, for example, to be used by a certain restaurant to promote its foods to the public on a certain area. This enables the restaurant to target a more specific segment of customers, while saving more money from marketing costs. Overall, the effectiveness of the marketing campaign can be enhanced. Besides business related application, the location based services can also be used for other purposes. For example, to locate a stolen smart phones, to track a person, to save a person being kidnapped, or simply to locate children after school hours by parents. Besides, such applications can also be used by the businesses to send mobile coupons or discount voucher to the subscribers that are found to be located near the promotional events organized by the firm.
Today, the many smart phones are also equipped with GPS services. This means that the customers can easily locate a certain type of services via their mobile phone easily. For example, mobile phone users can easily locate the nearest hospital. ATM machines, banks, school, restaurants, petrol stations or shopping malls (Crawford et. al., 2009).
Similar to the mobile marketing concepts that has been discussed above, the mobile viral marketing is about communicating and distributing mobile viral contents to the customers, often via SMS, emails or etc, to certain potential customers, and then to encourage these potential customers to forward these contents to their friends or family members. The purpose of all these is to leverage upon the contacts of the potential customers, which are being influenced by the specially designed and communicated mobile viral contents, and then in turn will try to influence the others people within his social network (Cheung et. al., 2008).
As discussed above, we have touched a lot new concepts about the design of new media, particularly on the mobile and social media context. It can be observed that due to the rise of social media as well as the ever more powerful smart phones in the recent years, the mass media landscape has been changing fast. All these trends have serious impacts on the design of future mobile devices, the design of marketing or advertising strategies as well as the design of business value proposition to the marketplace. In this section, how the advancement of the technologies related to social media as well as the mobile platform such as the emergence of smart phones have been affecting the new media design will be articulated.
There are several impacts on the changes or emergence of the new technologies has been changing the design of the marketing activities by businesses. The design of mass media has been changing, and the manner in which marketing communication messages are delivered or communicated to the mass public have been changing. Some of the obvious changes include:
Short and yet impressive. Today, people are living in information overload society. People do not have the time to read or view so much information. Thus, the advertisement or the design of new media must cater for such trends. The advertisement must be short and impressive. The messages communicated must be precise, as long article or messages will likely be ignored by readers.
Funny and entertaining. In this society, people attention is becoming a scare resource. After all, each people only have so much time, and have limited time to pat attentions on certain things. Thus, the new rules to do business or to communicate to others are to catch their attentions. For this, the messages communicated must be entertaining or funny, or at least able to invoke the curiosity of the people.
Targeted marketing efforts. Marketers now are more pressed to find their niche, and to conduct targeted marketing campaign to communicate and market effectively to the particular market segment. With the rise of the social media, the many mobile phone users as well as the internet users can now be segregated into different segment (Baltazar, 2011), depending on their characteristics. More targeted marketing is necessary, as businesses are competing to deliver more personalized messages to the customers. Services are also largely customized according to the target as well as the situation. Both of these will be further discussed in the following paragraphs.
Mass customization. As customers are becoming more demanding, it become more necessary to categorized the customers into different segments and then to deliver more differentiated as well as customized products, services or messages to them. Internet made this more easily done. As the many customers are getting online, through their mobile devices, there are easily reached, and close relationships between the many users to the businesses are possible. Today, the design of new media is no longer relevant to be targeted to everyone using the same messages (Maddever, 2011). The design of new media must understand such changes so that it can be more effective and influential towards the target audience.
Personalization. Today, as the business environment is becoming more competitive, as well as the opportunities offered by the mobile marketing platform, some business has been able to delivered highly personalized services or messages to the audience (Cubitt, 2007). Thus, to remain competitive, the design of new media must take such trend into consideration. More personalized messages are required to ensure that the audience are reached and properly communicated to.
Apart from that, the emergence of the social media as well as the mobile related technologies have also been changing the trend on how the applications for computer software, mobile phones or other consumer electronics devices are prepared or produced. In other words, as the design of the many mobile applications must adapt to the new technologies and trends in the marketplace. Some of the changes of the mobile or social media applications include the following:
More software to be developed for the usages of smart phones. The rise of mobile platform for social media is still a relatively new phenomenon. The technologies and applications are changing fast. It is expected that the software or applications developed will consider such a trend and be designed to fit the demands, needs and requirement of the mobile phone users (Lee. 2011).
More business applications are to be developed to link businesses to the end users. It is also reasonable to expect that more applications will be designed to link the many businesses to the end users. Such applications can be similar to the Customer Relationship Management software, but take a new form in itself that is designed to take advantages offered from the social media (Clark, 2009).
More integrated services or applications are to be developed to put the smart phones into a one-stop solution for the customers as well as the businesses. Today, people are becoming more demanding, having busier lifestyle and want to solve a problem fast and instantly (Lee. 2011). This lead to the emergence of the smart phone in the first place. As the smart phone as well as social media on mobile platform becoming more popular, the design of software applications must consider the increasingly integrated services that are delivered by the smart phones or mobile devices.
In this article, it is discussed that the emergence of social media as well as the emergence of powerful mobile platform has been changing the society in a significant manner. People habits, culture as well as lifestyle are changing. The innovations in the communication technologies, enabled by high speed internet connectivity, the advancement in mobile technologies as well as the rise of social media is bring the people more connected to each others, through the internet. The structure and the relationship of the people are changing.
It is not too much to comment that in fact, social media, particularly on a mobile platform is the pinnacle of new media, because more people can have instant access to the social media. Coupled with the trend that more people are engaged and building up new lifestyle of communicating, keeping in touch as well as to keep informed on the events happenings among the friends and family members, it is soon rising to become the most important new media today (Wright et. al., 2010). Traditional media, such as television, radio, or even the desktop computers are giving ways to the rise of social media on a mobile platform. The entire mass media industry and landscape is changed by the social media, and the degree of changes can become even more dramatic when more and more people used to using smart phones to stay connected with each other (e.g., to the friends, family members, businesses, community as well as to stay informed on the news from the mass media companies). Judging from the fast selling volumes of iPhone as well as other Android products, and yet due to the emergence of new integrated consumers products such as iPad, social media on a mobile platform is never something that can be neglected by researchers or practitioners in the field of business or mass media.
Besides, the second part of this article discussed about how the emergence of new technologies, concepts or applications had influenced the nature of the mass media or software applications design. As social media on mobile platform is becoming more important, and people have been relying more on such applications, the design of new media must be changed accordingly, to avoid being outdated or left out from the competition. Besides, it is also illustrated how the many software applications will change or be changed due to the new trend of increasingly popularly adopted social media usages on mobile platform.
Overall, this article had shown the rise of social media on mobile platform, and how the new technologies, concepts and applications have been rising due to the emergence of these technologies. In fact, the changes are so dramatic, influential and life-changing, to the extent that people are adopting new lifestyle or culture fast. Social media on mobile platform is the state of the art of the new media. The new technologies have also been changing the design of mass media as well as the applications of social media or the mobile devices in the modern day. Businesses who seek success on the future in such a environment must understand how these changes may bring upon huge impacts to their marketing, finance, operations of human resources functions. Knowledge on the changes bring forward by the social media on mobile platform will be essential for firm to achieve competitive advantages in the new business landscape.
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